Durban metro police have called on communities to help them in shutting down car theft and hijacking syndicates in the city.
The call comes after Durban police arrested four men, aged between 33 and 49, on Sunday, for being in possession of car-breaking implements. They appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday and were released on bail. They are due back in court on June 22, 2021.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said police found computer boxes, eight vehicle keys, seven spanners, an engine controller, a signal jammer as well as other items when they searched the vehicle they were driving.
Last week, Alpha Alarms, the Metro Police South Crime Prevention, the SAPS, the uMlazi K9 Unit, the SAPS Vehicle Task Team, Tracker Connect, Alpha and ET Rapid Response conducted intelligence-driven joint operations in the Illovo, KwaMakhutha, Ngonyameni and Lamontville areas.
They found an illegal chop shop in the bushes in KwaMakhutha. Another chop shop was found in Illovo, also in a bushy area. Police recovered two Toyota Etios, one of them stripped, in Lamontville. They also confiscated a partially stripped Hyundai H100 in Illovo and a VW Caravelle in Ngonyameni.
Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said there was a market for the parts and cross-border transportation of vehicles through border posts.
Sewpersad said the syndicates’ modus operandi was to pick up an identity of a vehicle in a scrapyard, pay the scrapyard dealer, get the logbook for the vehicle and transfer everything, including the engine number, onto the hijacked vehicle.
“There is a demand for certain types of vehicles, for example Ford Rangers, Etios, Toyota professional and Fortuner”.
Some of the engines of the hijacked vehicles were installed in taxis.
Sewpersad said law enforcement operations would continue and they would work with various companies to ensure that all syndicates were brought to book.
He said the community was reluctant to report what was going on.
“The community also needs to come on board because we cannot fight the scourge without the assistance of the community. The community must give information, factual information as well”.
Sewpersad also said “The only way we can fight crime is to get back to the basics and inform and alert the police, so the police will know that that particular area, for example, Bhekithemba in uMlazi is a hive of activity with all these vehicles that are going in there.”